Tooth problems could have cost athletes an Olympic medal
Health experts have revealed that tooth decay and other dental problems may have cost a number of athletes a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games and statistics have shown that poor oral health may have affected a fifth of the athlete’s performances. The study revealed that 18% of sports men and women complained that the condition of their teeth may have had a negative impact on their athletic performance at the games.
Health experts at University College London said that athletes should give dental hygiene the same priority as other sports sciences to increase their performance by even the smallest margins. Professor Ian Needleman of the UCL Eastman Dental Institute said that problems concerning the teeth and gums are ‘easily preventable’ and could mean the difference between a gold medal and a silver one. Professor Needleman said ‘professional athletes and their teams spend a lot of time and money on ways to marginally improve performance, as this can make all the difference in elite sports.’ He also added ‘things like better tooth brushing techniques and higher fluoride toothpastes could prevent… toothache and associated sleeping and training difficulties.’
It has also been suggested that acidic energy drinks can cause decay among athletes and the researchers were keen to point out that they were not trying to ‘demonise’ energy drinks or suggest that athletes don’t use them, but people should be aware of their dental condition and take measures to reduce the risks to oral health.
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